Tag: Interior Design

Designer Spotlight: Drake+Anderson

Fearless Style With Drake+Anderson

“Hard, glittering materials abound in the desin, but all are softened by luxurious textures as antidote to our glorious urban jungle.” – Jamie Drake

By: Brett Williams  Photo credit: Marco Ricca

In many ways, New York City is defined as a race to the top; this is a mindset of its people, a philosophy of its businesses and in recent years, a trope to describe its residential towers. Nested high in one of these beanstalk buildings is an international client’s pied-à-terre, a project by designers Drake/Anderson directly inspired by the surrounding city. “The soaring towers of Manhattan sprawling in all directions were inspiration. Hard, glittering materials abound in the design, but all are softened by luxurious textures as antidote to our glorious urban jungle,” says Drake.

At the helm of New York-based design firm, Drake/Anderson is Jamie Drake, a long-celebrated master known for his fearless approach to color and Caleb Anderson, an award-winning designer with an eclectic, collected approach. Together, they created a space that both salutes and belies the practice of restraint, feeling clean and graceful with striking materials and exaggerated statement pieces.

A curatorial mix of antique, artisan and custom furnishings is modus operandi for Drake/Anderson and leavens the space with personality and place. Custom pieces are vital to their projects and Drake is no stranger to product design with, among others, collections at THG Paris, Labrazel, Boyd Lighting, and Theodore Alexander. In the master bedroom exists a design dialogue that Drake calls his favorite, “a lacquer dresser is home to an almost erotic marble lamp, while an exquisite mirror ringed in delicate white ceramic blossoms is cartoon-like in its charming whimsy.” Luxury wall finishes are seen throughout including a gray Teodorico Venetian plaster in the dining room, a Venetian plaster with silver speckling in the guest bedroom, and custom shagreen panels in the foyer.

Design development for the 4200 square foot apartment was an expeditious two months and the client afforded the designers a substantial amount of creative elbow room. “We only had one meeting prior to being hired, so it needed to be an extraordinarily quick study. Relying on that conversation, and a shared passion for contemporary masters of the decorative arts, we were emboldened to get to work,” says Drake.

Low-slung furniture playfully contradicts the surrounding high-rises and, in addition to the client-requested neutral color palette of black, white and grays, accentuates the sweeping city views. Anderson’s favorite piece plays perfect example, “the Fernando chair by Julian Mayor couldn’t be more fitting — it’s a statement, sculptural and keeps its weight low to the ground.” When the opportunity arose and they could muster client buy-in, they layered in additional colors in a discerning way: azure in the living room, a deep scarlet in the master bedroom, and emerald green in one of the guest rooms.

This getaway apartment may be in the heart of a city where cars and businesswomen race by, but the view from that altitude shows a city at near standstill. The design, while undeniably holding interest, has a breathability and is complementary to this calm.

This article was taken from the 2018 Summer Edition of Blackman at Home Magazine 

Posted in Design, Hospitality & Projects

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Fall Trends for Your Home

Written by: Daniel Randazzo & Francesca Crocombe

Looking for the latest fall trends for your home? Blackman has you covered.

Jewel Tones

Jewel tones are gemstone-like colors that make a bold statement. Examples of jewel tones that you may consider using in your home are: amethyst, emerald, ruby, sapphire, and topaz. You can incorporate these vibrant colors into your interior design through the use of accent walls and unique pieces of furniture. Fun pieces, such as pillows from one of our favorite designers Allison Eden are an easy way to elevate your design.

Nature-Inspired Kitchens

Earth tones are a great way to bring outdoor inspirations inside. Adding beige or tan touches will complement dark, natural tones. For a contemporary feel, opt for furniture with smooth features, such as cerused wood cabinets. You may also want to consider ceramic tiles for an eye-catching backsplash or accent wall in your kitchen.

Bronze Plumbing Fixtures

The Delta Cassidy Pull-Down kitchen faucet comes in a unique Venetian Bronze finish that offers an aesthetic reminiscent of the colors of autumn. This faucet is hands-free and marries rustic as well as modern concepts. Additionally, the Cassidy utilizes Delta’s Shieldspray ™ technology, which not only cleans messes but contains the water – preventing another mess.

We’ve always been fans of Kallista’s Vir Stil series. The Vir Stil faucet, designed by Laura Kirar, is available in a stunning bronze finish. This bronze beauty has earned the EPA’s WaterSense label, which means it is hydro-efficient. By conserving water, you are also restoring the environment, which then transpires to more fall seasons to come.

Some Final Thoughts

If you love fall just as much as we do, then you’ll surely embrace these design tips when revamping your home. Dare to bring the fall colors to your indoors, and enjoy the crisp sensation.

Posted in Trends

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Interior Designer Spotlight: Amy Hill Designs

Amy Hill: Home is Where The Heart Is

Amy Hill owns and operates Amy Hill Designs, a full-service residential interior design firm serving clients in Manhattan, Palm Beach, and the Hamptons. From fabrics, furniture and floor plans to windows, walls, and accessories, she works closely with clients to create interiors that reflect their individual tastes and lifestyle.

How would you describe your design style?

It’s a little bit of everything, but casual elegance sums it up.

How does that style translate into the design elements you choose?

Since some of the areas I work in are near the beach, I like to integrate that beachy feeling but not in a kitschy way. I like more organic pieces paired with refined pieces, like a beautiful oversized teak coffee table with an elegant chandelier. About 90% of my Amy Hill Designs clients have second and third homes; they are sophisticated, well-traveled and very intelligent. They also have kids, guests and pets, so they want something that’s not fussy yet still chic and elegant.

What is the best part of your job as a designer?

I am absolutely so fortunate to have the most amazing clients who are fun to work with and down-to-earth. We have become great friends, so I feel very fortunate. I wake up every morning and love to go to work. Whether I am meeting with a builder, advising my clients, or going to a Blackman showroom, I am passionate about my job.

What is your professional background?

I have a master’s degree in psychology and had a private practice. Furthermore, I went on to get my real estate license and later worked with builders staging houses. I eventually moved to the interior design field about six years ago and started Amy Hill Designs.

How do you continue to be inspired when it comes to designing interior spaces?

I can be inspired by walking on the beach or walking down a block in the Hamptons and looking in the shop windows. I like to travel, visit amazing resorts and figure out what gives you that welcome feeling of being home. That’s the most important part of my job, identifying what feels like home for my clients and giving that to them.

Is there anything else you’d like share about Amy Hill Designs?

I am very passionate about what I do. I tend to go above and beyond for my clients. Once I set a Thanksgiving table for a client, I like to take their breath away. A lot of people call me up crying because they are so happy with their home. I try to go that extra step. Once I had a client whose son had to be gluten-free. Before they came home, I set up a table with a gluten-free food section, flowers, food, and even something for their dog. I want all my clients to feel like they’re at home, since your home equals your escape.

To connect with Amy Hill of Amy Hill Designs visit her website.

Posted in Design, Trends

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Watermark Designs: The Heart and Soul of Brooklyn


By Michele Keith

What is Watermark Designs?

There are companies that are “in” a location, and then there are companies that are “of” a location. Watermark Designs is the Brooklyn-based manufacturer of plumbing fixtures. They create bathroom accessories, lighting and elegant hardware for luxury commercial and residential markets. As president and third-generation owner Avi Abel relates, “Brooklyn is as much a fiber of our being as our products.”

Why Brooklyn?

What has kept Watermark in Brooklyn since it began nearly 40 years ago? “We’re very close to the highest concentration of architects and designers in North America,” says Abel. “This helps us keep our finger on the pulse of new trends and designs. We also have access to skilled artisans from around the world. They come to this country for a better life, bringing with them skill sets that are hard to find elsewhere.”

Most Watermark employees are local Brooklynites, with many walking to work, Abel says, though quickly adding with a laugh, “Living here is not a pre-requisite for working here! We encourage a family atmosphere, celebrate our different cultures and enjoy a warm, safe environment.” Working at Watermark is nearly a rite of passage for many since it helps new arrivals assimilate into the community at large.

Watermark Designs is always searching for new ways to reach out to neighborhood residents.  They post job openings at local colleges. They encourage graduates with engineering degrees to consider them for a career. In addition, the company liaises with nearby employment centers, features a dedicated email for resumes on its website, and is an active member of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and East New York Development Center.

Abel believes strongly in staying local, saying, “We source as many of our raw materials here as possible—I actually do get my brass from a business down the street—and we manufacture each and every product here.” It’s a point of pride for the company that is expressed in big and small ways, like the tape used for sealing boxes which boldly states: “Made in Brooklyn.”

“We prove again and again that manufacturing in the USA, and Brooklyn in particular, is a thriving and worthwhile endeavor.” Spoken like a proud New Yorker indeed!

Watermark is available at all Blackman Plumbing Supply Showrooms.
Find a showroom near you.

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Blackman Joins The IFDA Florida Chapter

Get to Know the IFDA

Blackman Joins the IFDA Florida Chapter

Written By: Gwen Donovan

We are proud to announce that we have joined the Florida Chapter of the IFDA. IFDA stands for – International Furnishings and Design Association. This organization is a worldwide professional alliance of leaders from the residential and commercial furnishings and design fields. We were happy to meet several Florida Chapter members at our March 8 Blackman at Home magazine launch party held in our West Palm Beach showroom.

The launch party welcomed the IFDA Florida Chapter President Marsha Koch as well as Florida Chapter members Beverly Stewart, Lynn Sciarrone, Vicki Kirsner, Mike Peterson and Sylvia Wallace.

This professional network is a great way to meet other like-minded people in the design world. “I have found IFDA and its members to be welcoming and supportive,” Chapter President Marsha Koch said. “The connections I have made are invaluable, and members are my greatest resources. In the past year, I have done business with at least 12 of our chapter sponsors and members. I refer business to them at every opportunity.” Marsha’s firm, Picture Pretty Interiors, is located in Boca Raton.

Who is the IDFA Florida Chapter?

The Florida Chapter of IFDA is a community of professionals representing all facets of the furnishings and design industries.  They provide opportunities for members to achieve their goals through education, collaboration, philanthropy and connections.  Members say it’s about the support they receive and relationships they build.

“In serving on the Chapter Board of Directors in various positions, and currently serving as President, my personal and professional skills have grown, and my connections have strengthened and expanded beyond expectations,” Marsha added. “Being part of this community has been an amazing experience.”

Founded in 1947, IFDA members are executives of companies that manufacture, distribute, design, write about or sell floor coverings, lighting, decorative fabrics, accessories and building products. Others are engaged in graphic, residential and contract design, education, publishing, licensing, marketing and communications. Through the IFDA Educational Foundation, this organization offers scholarships to students. They also offer grants to members as professionals working in the trade.  Student members are a vital part of the membership as well.

“We believe together we are better,” is the unofficial motto of the Florida Chapter, and that is right in line with Marsha’s feelings about membership: “I take advantage of our many educational, networking and community events we offer as often as possible. Every event is an opportunity!”

Vicki Kirsner, an interior designer with Infinity Designs LLC in West Palm Beach, is thrilled that Blackman has joined the Florida Chapter, saying “Blackman is a first class organization and we are so happy to be affiliated with you!”

What do Members Say?

Members who were asked to sum up the organization in one word described it as Approachable, Connected, Supportive, Collaborative, Welcoming, Warm, Fun and Inclusive. For more information about the IFDA’s National and Chapter websites, visit ifda.com and ifdaflorida.com.  You can also check out their social media sites on Facebook and Instagram.

IFDA Mission Statement:

The International Furnishings and Design Association (IFDA) is one of the only all-industry associations whose members provide services and products to the furnishings and design industry. IFDA is the driving force, through its programs and services, to enhance the professionalism and stature of the industry worldwide.

IFDA Core Values

The IFDA promotes open sharing, mutual respect, community service, education, industry partnerships, and ethical practices. They have Chapters from coast to coast and in Japan.  Last year a delegation of members was hosted by members of the Japan Chapter. Next year the Japanese members will be visiting New York.


Posted in Trade

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An Interview with Interior Designer Greg McKenzie: Inspirational & Innovative

Greg McKenzie: Inspirational & Innovative

Written by: Gwen Donovan

Greg McKenzie of Greg McKenzie Designs is celebrated for his cutting-edge and inspirational interior design work. His reach extends from the Hamptons and Manhattan to Boston, Chicago, Palm Beach, Europe and Cabo San Lucas, resulting in some of the world’s most stunning residences.

How would you describe your design style?

Transitional, meaning modern/mid-century modern, which is paired with old elements in the mix for a sense of history and time. When you’re mixing styles and periods it makes for good design. I try not to embrace trends too much. I look for longevity in classic things that stand the test of time.

What are some of the common threads you rely on for your signature style?

The biggest thing for me is to try and re-purpose things. My philosophy is that it hast to look great and it has to be comfortable. Comfort, function and beauty are so important. I’m not a designer that you can say “That’s a Greg McKenzie room.” It’s a very intimate thing to be invited into someone’s house and make it into their home.

What was your favorite design project?

I just completed a year-long, 5,500-square-foot apartment in Palm Beach where all the bath fixtures came from Blackman.

What is your background in the design field?

I have a degree in English with a minor in political communications. Early in my career I was in advertising with a sales and marketing background. Then I switched to retail, working for companies like Devonshire (I managed a Devonshire shop in the East End), and later I was a stylist.  Once I realized design was my forte, I went to design school and started my business in 2001.

Where do get inspiration from? 

I get inspiration from all sorts of places: clothing, color samples, color palette swatches, a piece of furniture or a rug. Anyone worth their salt in the design field is always learning.

Do you have any design secrets to share?

I like to work with the architectural style of a home when I design. A traditional home looks strange with all modern furnishings; you need to find a happy medium where the architecture matches the interior. I strongly associate my design approach and a home’s location. If it’s at the beach, there’s an element of relaxation. In New York City, you want some glamour. In Miami Beach, you can go a little wild and extraordinary. Palm Beach is all about color and casual elegance.

Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you or your design firm?

Most of my clients are longtime and we have worked on multiple projects together. My big thing is I really, really enjoy and love what I do and I think that shows in the final product. It’s got to feel good, and it’s got to feel like home.

Visit Greg McKenzies website to learn more about Greg McKenzie Designs.


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